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Issue 850, 12 April 2022 
In this issue: 


Proposed new AFCA funding model: consultation reminder 

As reported in ASFA Action issue 845, the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) is consulting on its proposed new funding model, which will replace the current (interim) model. The new funding model will apply from 1 July. 

The proposed new funding model includes a single registration fee for financial firm members, and a simplified complaints fee structure.
Consultation material is available on the AFCA website. The consultation material includes:  

If you have any feedback you would like ASFA to consider in relation to the proposed new funding model, please forward it to Andrew Craston by close of business Tuesday 19 April. 


Parliament and Bills update 

The election has now been called for 21 May. As a result, the House of Representatives sittings scheduled for 11 – 14 April will not go ahead and all future sittings for the 46th Parliament have also been cancelled. 

Parliament has now been prorogued (dissolved) and all Bills that remained before it have lapsed. In relation to superannuation, this includes: 

For any of these measures to progress, they will need to be re-introduced in the new term of Parliament. 


WA de facto superannuation splitting 

The Western Australian (WA) Parliament is considering a Bill that is relevant to efforts to allow separating WA de facto couples to access the family law superannuation splitting regime. 

As reported in ASFA Action issues 838 and 786, amendments were recently made to Commonwealth legislation and regulations giving effect to a referral of power from Western Australia to the Commonwealth in respect of superannuation matters in family law proceedings for separating de facto couples in WA. The commencement date for the Commonwealth Family Law Amendment (Western Australia De Facto Superannuation Splitting and Bankruptcy) Act 2020 (“WA De Facto Superannuation Splitting Act”) has not yet been proclaimed, and therefore the related Superannuation Legislation Amendment (Western Australia De Facto Superannuation Splitting) Regulations 2021  have not come into effect. 

The WA Government has now introduced into the WA Parliament the Family Court Amendment Bill 2022 . This makes amendments necessary to reflect into WA legislation the regime created for splitting of superannuation interests by WA de facto couples by the WA De Facto Superannuation Splitting Act. (It also makes extensive, unrelated, amendments in relation to bankruptcy.) 

Once passed, the operative provisions of the WA Bill that relate to superannuation will commence on a date to be proclaimed. This will accord with the commencement of the related Commonwealth regulations, which will also require the Commonwealth Powers Act to be proclaimed. 


Investment switching: outcomes of ASIC trustee surveillance 

In October ASIC raised concerns about superannuation trustees’ management of conflicts of interest, following surveillance of personal investment switching by trustee directors and senior executives during the time of increased market volatility arising from the COVID-19 pandemic (see ASFA Action issue 831 for background). 

Following this surveillance, ASIC has reported that the trustees concerned have committed to implement a range of changes to improve arrangements for managing conflicts, including: 

ASIC has also completed its review of a range of transactions during the 2020 calendar year by directors, senior executives or their related parties. These transactions involved the switching of investment settings, changes to investment contribution allocations and superannuation contributions, and the withdrawal and roll in of superannuation monies. Based on the evidence obtained during its surveillance, ASIC is satisfied no further action is warranted against any individuals in relation to the identified transactions. 

ASIC has indicated it will continue to work with APRA on ensuring trustees have appropriate policies and procedures in place to manage possible conflicts of interest. 


COVID-19 financial advice relief to end 15 April 

ASIC has announced  that relief measures for financial advice, introduced on a temporary basis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will be allowed to automatically expire on 15 April. 

ASIC Corporations (COVID-19—Advice-related Relief) Instrument 2021/268 commenced on 15 April 2021. It extended two relief measures originally introduced in April 2020: 

See ASFA Action issues 799, 777 and 759 for background. 

The relief provided by the Instrument 2021/268 was due to automatically repeal on 15 April. ASIC has formed the view that “the current status of COVID-19 responses in Australia provides a sufficient basis for a decision by ASIC to further extend the relief”. 




ASFA’s Regulatory Watchlist (ARW) tracks developments in Legislation, inquiries, consultations

and other regulatory announcements relevant to superannuation.

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